We are now one week into the 2018 World Equestrian Games, and to say it has been an interesting start to the games would be an understatement!
The first competition was the Endurance, which was cancelled due to the hot and humid weather becoming a horse welfare issue. This decision came not long after a steward had sent a portion of the field in the wrong direction, meaning they did an extra 5km loop than the rest of the group. Given that after this huge stuff around there was no way of making a fair and even race for the entire field, the only reasonable option was to cancel.
So, for the poor Endurance competitors who travelled across the world to compete, unfortunately their show ended in disappointment. Disappointment would only scratch the surface on how NZ rider Jenny Champion is feeling however, after her mount Barack Obama was Euthanised. He developed health problems as a result of the extreme conditions and unfortunately had to be put down last Thursday.
Now on to the Dressage competition, and the final result of this discipline didn’t end much better than the endurance! No I lie; at least the dressage competitors got to complete 2/3 of their tests, the first Grand Prix decided the teams medal…and it was Germany who took the gold (as expected). The top 30 from the Grand Prix move onto the Grand Prix Special, a much more technical test that usually sees the best riders rise to the top. This time was no exception: Isabell Werth won gold, followed by Laura Graves and Charlotte Dujardin respectively (girl POWER!).
Now comes the controversy. Usually the top 15 from the Special go through to the Freestyle, which was due to be held on Sunday. However, due to the extreme weather forecast of Hurricane Florence, the Tryon organising committee decided to be proactive and postpone the event until Monday. Not long after this decision though, the Freestyle was totally cancelled because the logistics of running it on Monday with the horses flying out that night became too difficult. Alas, there is no Dressage freestyle champion for WEG 2018, and despite the torrential forecasts, the weather didn’t look all that bad from reports around the grounds. In fact, most of the dressage riders appeared to work their horses both Sunday and Monday before the horses flew back to Europe!
Next, to the Eventing… A discipline that managed to run to completion! Although the showjumping phase was pushed back a day, giving the horses an extra day to recover (or perhaps develop more muscle soreness and stiffness two days post cross country). Whether that extra day affected the overall results, we’ll never know. It was an exciting finish nonetheless, with England securing team and individual Gold (indv Rosalind Canter), Ireland close behind with double Silver medals (indv Padraig McCarthy), France took team Bronze, while the individual Bronze went to crowd favourite Ingrid Klimke of Germany.
So, now the attention turns to Showjumping! Beginning at 9am local US time on Wednesday the 19th of September. So far they have completed the trot up and arena familiarisation/warm up round without any drama or scandals…But watch this space – and GO THE AUSSIES!
PS we have a 20% off KenTaur WEG discount running until 23 September! Shop our sale here.